Emerging Workers’ Comp Technology Trends Impacting Workplace Safety and Rehabilitation

                               

By Ebonee Hunter-Goldsby, Sr. Manager, Customer Service, Apricus

Technology and workplace safety are coming together in exciting ways, leading to innovative changes in caring for injured employees and preventing workplace injuries. New technologies and trends in workers’ compensation are transforming how employers and employees handle claims, maintain safety at work, and support recovery. This promises a safer and more efficient future for everyone involved. Here are a few examples: 

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping workers’ compensation through data analysis, predictive modeling and automation. AI algorithms can access historical claims data to identify potential risks and trends, allowing payers to proactively address workplace safety concerns. In Enlyte’s 2022 Workers’ Compensation Technology Trends Report, respondents who implemented new technologies in 2021 said that artificial intelligence and improved user experience/integrations made the biggest impact on their business within the past year. Enlyte CEO Alex Sun offers advice on why the first step should be ensuring the technology is developed by experts who understand the intricacies of claims management.

2. Wearable Technology 

Based on information from Grand View Research, the global wearable technology market was valued at $61.3 billion in 2022 and was expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 14.6% from 2023 to 2030. Wearable devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart helmets, vests and sensors are playing a vital role in enhancing workplace safety. These devices can monitor employee movements, vital signs, detect hazardous conditions and alert employees to potential dangers in real-time. For example, a smart helmet equipped with sensors can detect a fall and send an alert to a supervisor or emergency responders. Wearable technology not only reduces risk of workplace injuries but can also provide valuable data for injury prevention and risk assessment. 

3. Telemedicine 

Telemedicine has revolutionized the workers’ compensation landscape by enabling injured employees to access medical care remotely. Telemedicine allows injured employees to receive prompt medical attention, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations, promoting faster recovery and minimizing downtime. This technology facilitates communication between healthcare providers, adjusters and employers, improving coordination of care and reducing claim duration. Moreover, telemedicine enhances the efficiency of claims management, reducing costs associated with transportation and time off work. According to Enlyte’s Trends Report, telemedicine was the top technology initiative that the workers’ compensation industry invested in in 2021. 

4. Autonomous Vehicles and Drones

Autonomous vehicles and drones offer a variety of benefits, particularly in workplace safety assessment and incident response. Drones equipped with high-resolution cameras and sensors can survey accident scenes, providing detailed visual data to responders and adjusters. Real-time imagery aids in assessing the severity of injuries, identifying potential hazards, and making informed decisions. Drones also excel in reaching hard-to-access or dangerous areas that may pose a danger to humans. This is invaluable in situations like roof inspections, fires, natural disasters, or construction sites. In addition, a study from National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) found that autonomous vehicles will reduce fatalities and severe injuries and could reduce workers’ comp claim costs. 

5. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) technology has found applications in workers’ compensation, particularly in training and rehabilitation. AR can create immersive training experiences that simulate real workplace scenarios, helping employees develop safety skills and awareness. Additionally, AR can assist in physical rehabilitation by providing interactive exercises and guidance for injured employees. This technology enhances the quality of training and rehabilitation programs, leading to improved outcomes and a quicker return to work. 

Keeping up with emerging technologies and trends is essential in the evolving world of workers’ compensation. At Enlyte, our family of businesses closely monitors industry trends and evaluates new technologies that may provide better outcomes for those we serve. Every day, Apricus works to coordinate the most effective injury-recovery services for those who have been hurt in an accident, while navigating what’s next. By embracing innovation, organizations can stay ahead and make workplaces safer and more efficient. 

About the Author

Ebonee Hunter-Goldsby plays a vital role in overseeing successful projects, migrations and system developments as a program and process implementation and improvement leader. With over 12 years of experience in the workers’ comp industry, she leads a diverse team of experts, including trainers, data management specialists, financial, quality and business analysts, all dedicated to delivering exceptional service. 

Ebonee is also a regular contributor to our Specialty Solutions Spotlight where this article originally appeared. To ask and find the answers to more work comp specialty questions visit our website and subscribe to our monthly series. 

www.apricusinc.com

Resources:

https://www.enlyte.com/workers-comp-insurance-technology-trends
https://www.enlyte.com/insights/enlyte/article/beyond-buzz-do-you-have-genai-fomo
https://riskandinsurance.com/studies-show-wearables-can-help-prevent-injuries-and-accelerate-recovery-if-workers-know-how-to-use-them/?rid=1578752
https://www.safetynational.com/conferencechronicles/the-drones-have-it-flying-your-way-into-workers-compensation
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/augmented-reality-benefits-for-workplace-safety
https://www.ncci.com/Articles/Pages/Insights-Autonomous-Vehicles-WC.aspx
https://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20230510/NEWS08/912357356/Virtual-reality-fosters-positive-injured-worker-outcomes-Experts
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